Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 NRSV
Last Sunday, we looked at Jesus' transfiguration. That spectacular revelation on the mountain with the appearances of Moses and Elijah, where God proclaims, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Today's text takes us back about one week before that event. Jesus is relaying to his disciples what will happen - he will be killed, but he will also conquer death, rising on the third day. Christ is also preparing them for what they can expect.
Consistent with the message of his ministry, God's values are often the reverse of human thinking. Blessed are the poor, the meek, those who mourn, and now Jesus says, if you value your life, you'll lose it. Does that mean we shouldn't care about what happens in this life? Of course not, God has granted us the gift of life, and we should cherish it -- but our hearts should remain focused on Godly living, not clinging to the things of this world.
Precious God, we give you thanks in the hope found through Jesus Christ. We confess we become distracted by our wants and desires. Satan tries to redirect our attention to things of little significance. Forgive us; we pray. We ask for strength in taking up our cross this day. Please help keep our focus centered on you and guide our steps this day. Amen.